Co-op Reflection: A Summer at CBC

Co-op Reflection: A Summer at CBC

By: Mack Stannard
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I sat on the plane with my copy of “Writing Well” in one hand and my pen in the other. I was frantically scribbling down ideas for stories in my notebook. In a few hours I would need to pitch two original story ideas at my first day of work.

For my fourth and final Co-op I was able to be part of the coveted Peter Gzowski Internship. For the first week I was flown to Toronto to learn from the best in the industry at CBC’s head office.

I had no idea what to expect but I was excited. Coming from SFU’s Communication program I had learned a lot about CBC but I didn't necessarily know how to be a journalist there. My lack of experience was making me anxious.

That first week was like a dream. It was a year’s worth of information packed into a single week. The best of the best in Canadian journalism came to teach, guide and inspire me and my fellow Gzowski interns.

I could fill a dozen blog posts with the skills and lessons learned from that week. But the most important thing I learned was that a good story is an interesting person doing interesting things for interesting reasons. Easy as that. So it seemed.

I shouldn’t have been worried about pitching two stories in Toronto because when I returned back to the Vancouver office I was pitching three to six every morning.

I was thrown into the thick of it very quickly. Writing scripts, booking guests for the radio shows. It was the definition of “learn by doing”.

But the producers at CBC were so kind. Coaching me through each script and being patient with my questions.

Through the three months I worked on four current affairs shows where I wrote countless scripts, the highlight of which was for an interview with Rick Mercer. I produced a lunch time concert and wrote thirty web stories about local bands. I had my voice on the radio. I edited audio.

I learned from the stress of a deadline. I got over a fear of having bad ideas. And as for writer's block, well that’s a luxury I was not allowed to have. 

I write this in my last week at CBC Vancouver. Sunday I head back to Toronto where the fellow Gzowski’s will put together an hour long radio program about a topic we are passionate about: youth leadership.

The Peter Gzowski Internship changed my career and it changed me. Every summer one lucky person from SFU’s Co-op program gets to have this amazing opportunity. I highly suggest anyone who has ever considered a career in storytelling start working on their application today! 


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Posted on November 03, 2016